With Chavez's health on the line, groups who have benefited from the Venezuelan president's tenure – like the FARC – are hedging their bets, writes guest blogger James Bosworth.
• A version of this post ran on the author's blog, bloggingsbyboz.com. The views expressed are the author's own.
Numerous media outlets in the region have speculated as to what Chavez's illness could mean for his allies and others in the region who have received aid funded by Venezuelan oil wealth. The AP quoted Yoani Sanchez as saying there is speculation in Cuba that there may be another "special period" following the death of Chavez due to the economic blow it would deal the island.
Other countries in the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) are more insulated from the blow, diversified in their economies or have other options. It will be an economic hit, but everyone else should be able to manage it without too much suffering.
However, the only Chavez 'ally' to make a significant policy shift in the past week is one that few articles cite. Yesterday, the FARC announced they will give up all kidnapping and release police and military hostages they hold.
There are numerous reasons for the FARC to do this, including challenges within the leadership of the organization and protests against them by the Colombian population. However, I think this announcement and the timing of it is directly related to Chavez's renewed illness.